Monday, June 29, 2009

Michael Jackson & the Cost of Celebrity

It's been a handful of days after his unexpected death and the news coverage on Michael Jackson has yet to slow down. The tributes, commentaries and retrospectives seem endless as his fans and admirers seek to cope with the reality that a larger than life superstar is now dead.

I've already written about my thoughts on Jackson here so I won't reiterate all of that but I was intrigued by Doug Gross's article on about the price that the King of Pop paid for his fame. A performer since his earliest days, Michael never was able to experience childhood as others do. In Jackson's own words:
"The public at large has yet to really understand the pressures of childhood celebrity, which, while exciting, always exacts a very heavy price," Jackson wrote in 2000 in a column for the religious Web site beliefnet. "More than anything, I wished to be a normal little boy. I wanted to build tree houses and go to roller-skating parties. But very early on, this became impossible."
Gross refers to the heavy demands Joseph Jackson, Michael's father, placed on Michael and his brothers and how his odd behavior over the years likely stemmed from this disfunction in his formative years. It's been argued that many kids have had harsh, demanding fathers with unreasonable expectations so why did Michael turn out the way he did? I believe the combination of his talent, money, fame, denied youth and inability to connect with others likely all played a role in who he grew up to be.

Michael admitted that he just wanted to be a normal little boy and lead a life that other kids have. He wanted to laugh and play and have a life without pressure. It's sad that a path was chosen for him that he could never really get out of because it was all he knew. In a culture that rewards those that seek fame simply to be famous I wonder how many more Michael Jacksons we may be creating as we use children for entertainment and spit them out when their cuteness wears off and we move onto something else. It's at least something to think about...

1 comment:

Michael Lantz said...

I think that Joe Jackson will be held accountable for what he did on Judgement Day,for the way he treated Michael and his brothers.I believe that Joe Jackson need to get right with God and repent.